US 20030006243 A1
A display apparatus  for bag-in-box type dispenser bags comprises a transparent enclosure  having a dispenser portion  and a cup holder portion . The dispenser portion is sized to accept a drink dispenser bag  for dispensing beverages. A spout aperture  on a dispensing end  provides access to the spout  of the dispenser. A cup holder  dispenses a stack of cups  from the apparatus. Suction cups  provide a means to attach the apparatus to a vertical surface . The apparatus provides high-visibility display of a bag-in-box product and facilitates sampling by potential customers.
1. A display apparatus for use with a drink dispenser bag, the apparatus comprising;
a front panel, a back panel, a dispensing panel, and opposite panel and a bottom defining a dispenser enclosure;
a partition interior to said enclosure defining a dispenser portion and an auxiliary portion, said dispenser portion comprising predetermined dimensions to accommodate said drink dispenser bag;
a spout aperture disposed in said dispensing panel in a predetermined position to provide alignment of a drink dispenser bag spout on said drink dispenser bag with said spout aperture when said drink dispenser bag is inserted into said dispenser portion;
a cup dispenser disposed in said auxiliary portion; and
an attachment means for attaching said display apparatus to a vertical surface.
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10. A dispensing apparatus for dispensing drinks comprising:
a box comprising a front panel, a back panel, a dispensing panel, a bottom panel and a top panel;
a partition disposed inside said box defining a bag portion and a auxiliary portion, said bag portion comprising a first set of predetermined dimensions suitable for enclosing and supporting a drink-dispensing bag, and the auxiliary portion comprising a second set of predetermined dimensions suitable for enclosing a stack of cups;
a cup dispensing aperture in said bottom panel; and
an attachment means for attaching said display enclosure to a vertical surface.
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 The present invention relates to beverage containers and, more particularly, to bag-in-box beverage dispensers used for retail display.
 Bag-in-box dispensers are becoming increasingly popular for use as dispensers of beverage, food, and non-food products. The popularity of bag-in-box dispensers results from reduced warehouse and retail floor space required as compared to many conventional liquid packaging methods, lower cost as compared with rigid, reusable containers, reduction of packaging material, and ease of disposal. Bag-in-box packaging has proven to be clean and safe for beverages and pulpable food products.
 Bag-in-box packaging is especially popular in retail beverage applications because the outer box provides an ideal advertising display which is highly visible and easily readable as compared to cylindrical liquid packages. Improvements in box construction and printing qualities affords ever-improving graphics effective in retail markets.
 Beverage sample dispensing raises problems associated with current bag-in-box designs, since the size and weight of current bag-and-box designs required the units to be set on a stand or other horizontal surface.
 Dispensing the beverages on horizontal surfaces is complicated by the proximity of the dispensing spout at the bottom of the bag-in-box to the horizontal surface, leaving little space for spout access and dispensing the beverage into a cup. Dispensing beverages often results in spilling. Another problem is that cups are stored separately from the bag-in-box, requiring separate cup dispensers and further complicating the process of beverage dispensing.
 There exists a significant need for improved beverage dispensing from bag-and-box dispensers and for improved display of beverage dispensers for product marketing.
 The display apparatus of the present invention comprises a generally square parallelepiped-shaped dispenser enclosure having a dispenser portion and a cup holder portion. The dispenser portion is sized to accept a bag-in-box type drink dispenser bag and comprises a spout aperture on an end wall for the spout of the bag-in-box. The cup holder portion comprises a chamber sized to enclose a stack of drinking cups. A cup-dispenser aperture in the bottom panel of the enclosure provides a means for dispensing cups one at a time from the stack of cups in the cup holder. The enclosure comprises a transparent front panel to allow viewing of the bag indicia and graphics with the bag is inserted into the display apparatus.
 A means for attaching the display apparatus to a vertical surface provides good display properties of the bag-in-box, and allows improved access to the spout for dispensing beverages into a cup as compared to setting a bag-in-box on a horizontal surface. In the preferred embodiments, suction cups on the back panel of the display apparatus provides a means for attaching the display apparatus to a vertical surface. The suction cups provide a convenient means to attach the apparatus to a surface such as the front panel or door of a display case. In alternative embodiments, adhesive strips, hook and loop fasteners, J-hooks, or other mechanical fasteners are used to attach the apparatus to the vertical surface.
 Another embodiment utilizes an expanded box portion of a bag-in-box container to provide a cup holder portion within the box. A vertical partition interior to the box provides support to the back of the bag, and acts as the front wall of the cup holder. A cup-dispensing hole in the bottom of the box below a stack of cups in the cup holder portion allows single-cup dispensing. Suction cups, adhesive strips or other mechanical fasteners on the back panel of the bag-in-box provide a means to attach the apparatus to a vertical surface.
 The display apparatus for beverage dispensers is especially useful with compact bag-in-box products, such as ones with depths of 2-4 inches. Such bag-in-box products are of low enough weight to facilitate support from vertical surfaces. Use of sufficient vertical surface support, however, allows use with a wide range of bag-in-box sizes.
 Therefore, an object of the present invention is to provide a display apparatus for bag-in-box dispensers which provides improved presentation and display of bag-in-box products in a retail environment.
 Another object of the present invention is to provide a display apparatus for bag-in-box dispensers which allows convenient sampling of beverages by customers.
 Another object of the present invention is to provide a display apparatus for bag-in-box dispensers which improves the mechanical security of the bag-in-box dispenser, freeing both hands for holding a cup and dispensing a beverage.
 Another object of the present invention is to provide a display apparatus for bag-in-box dispensers which has better hand access to the spout than one placed on a horizontal surface, reducing spillage.
 Another object of the present invention is to provide a display apparatus for bag-in-box dispensers which can easily be placed at a convenient height for dispensing beverages.
 Still another object of the present invention is to provide a display apparatus for bag-in-box dispensers which is useable by retailers and consumers alike.
 These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with regard to the following description, appended claims and accompanying drawings where:
FIG. 1 is a perspective drawing of the display apparatus for bag-type beverage dispensers with a transparent enclosure having a dispenser portion and a cup-holder portion, the enclosure attachable to a vertical surface;
FIG. 2A is a top view of the embodiment of FIG. 1;
FIG. 2B is a front view of the embodiment of FIG. 1;
FIG. 2C is a view from the dispensing end of the embodiment of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3A is a detail cross section of the suction cup of FIG. 2C showing an adhesive attachment of the suction cup to the back panel of the apparatus;
FIG. 3B is a detail cross section of the suction cup of FIG. 2C showing a mechanical slotting method of attachment of the suction cup to the back panel of the apparatus;
FIG. 3C is a detail cross section of an alternative embodiment of the attachment means of
FIG. 2C showing an adhesive strip attached to the back panel of the apparatus; and
FIG. 4 is a perspective drawing of an embodiment of the display apparatus for dispensing beverages utilizing an extended bag-in-box enclosure to store and dispense a stack of beverage cups, the apparatus attachable to a vertical surface by suction cups.
 The following is a description of the preferred embodiments of a display/dispenser apparatus for dispensing beverages which provides a low-cost and effective method for displaying bag-in-box products.
FIG. 1 is a perspective drawing of a preferred embodiment of the display/dispenser apparatus 100 for enclosing and displaying a drink dispenser bag 101. In the preferred embodiments, the display apparatus comprises a dispenser enclosure 103 having a front panel 105, a back panel 107, a dispensing panel 109, an opposite panel 111, and a bottom panel 113. An interior vertical partition 115 divides the interior portion of enclosure 103 into dispenser portion 117 and auxiliary or cup holder portion 119. The dimensions of dispenser portion 117 are selected to accommodate a bag-in-box dispenser such as dispenser bag 101.
 Auxiliary portion 119 comprises a cup holder 121 for storing and dispensing cups 123. Cup holder 119 is a U-shaped channel attached to partition 115 to form a square cross-sectional structure for retaining a stack of cups 125. U-shaped retaining channels 127 retain partition 115 and cup holder 121 vertically in enclosure 103.
 Spout aperture 129 disposed in dispenser panel 109 provides access for spout 131 of dispenser 103. Enclosure cover 133 fits over enclosure 103 to provide protection for dispenser bag 101 and cup stack 125 when inserted into enclosure 103. Optionally, cover 133 may cover only auxiliary portion 119.
 FIGS. 2A-2C are top, front and end views, respectively of display apparatus 100. Cup dispenser aperture 203 provides a means to dispense cups from bottom 113 of enclosure 103. Suction cups 205, attached to back panel 107 provide a means to attach display apparatus 100 to a vertical surface such as the front panel 135 of a display case 137 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 2C shows suction cups 207, shown in phantom lines, optionally placed on front panel 105. Optional cover 133 is shown in FIG. 2C in phantom lines.
FIG. 3A is a detail cross section of the suction cups 205 of FIG. 2C for attachment to vertical surface 135. In the preferred embodiments, suction cups 205 are made of rubber, neoprene, or other polymeric materials and are attached to back panel 107 by an adhesive 301. FIG. 3B is an alternative method of attaching suction cup 205A utilizing a slot portion 303 of suction cup 205A to engage a keyhole aperture 305 in back panel 107. FIG. 3C is another embodiment of an attachment means utilizing a double-sided adhesive strip or pad 307. The first adhesive surface 309 attaches adhesive pad 307 to back panel 107. The second adhesive surface 311 attaches the pad and apparatus to the vertical surface of FIG. 1. A peel strip 313 protects second adhesive surface 311 until time of use. In still another embodiment, element 307 may be a hook and loop fastener strip attached to back panel 107.
 In the preferred embodiments, at least a portion of front panel 105 is made of a transparent material such as PETG, to allow viewing of product advertisement and identification indicia 141 on dispenser 101. In the more preferred embodiments, the entire enclosure is made of PETG. Enclosure 103 may be fabricated by welding or gluing individual panels, or multiple panels may be extruded as shapes and the enclosure assembled from the extruded shapes.
FIG. 4 is a perspective drawing of display apparatus 400 comprising an extended bag-in-box carton or dispenser 401 defining an enclosure 403 for drink dispenser bag 404 and cup stack 425. Dispenser 401 comprises a front panel 405, back panel 407, dispensing panel 409, opposite side panel 411, and bottom panel 413. C-shaped vertical partition 415, attached to the interior side of front panel 405 and back panel 407 by glued flanges 415A, defines dispenser portion 417 and auxiliary portion 419.
 Enclosure 403 is covered by a top panel formed by top sub-panels 420A, 420B, 420C, and 420D, folded and secured after insertion of bag 404 and cup stack 425. Cup dispenser aperture 424 in bottom panel 413 provides single-cup dispensing from the apparatus. Perforated spout tear-away 426 provides an aperture for spout 428 of bag 404. Suction cups 205 attached to back panel 407 provide attachment of the apparatus to a vertical surface such as surface 135 of FIG. 1. Suction cups may be attached to the outside of back panel 407 by an adhesive, similar to that shown in the embodiment of FIG. 3A, or adhesive pads or hook and loop fasteners may be used as shown in the embodiment of FIG. 3C.
 In the preferred embodiments, dispenser 401 is made of a paperboard material such as corrugated boxboard, solid paperboard, or it may be made of a plastic material such as plastic corrugated sheet.
 Other embodiments provide for the attachment means on the front panel or front and back panel of the apparatus. In still other embodiments, the attachment means is disposed on and end panel. In still other embodiments, the display/dispenser of FIG. I may be sized to enclose a complete bag-in-box carton similar to the carton of FIG. 4. In the preferred embodiments, the bag-in-box enclosures are dimensioned to accept compact drink dispenser bags having a depth of 2-4 inches. Such compact bag-in-box dispenser/display apparatus provides a convenient means for drink product display and dispensing, and the apparatus is sufficiently light to allow hanging from a vertical surface with simple fasteners.
 Accordingly, the reader will see that the DISPLAY APPARATUS FOR BEVERAGE DISPENSERS provides an improved means to display and dispense beverages from a bag-in-box dispenser. The device provides the following additional advantages:
 The display apparatus of the present invention may be used by consumers as well as retailers.
 The improved dispensing afforded by attachment to a vertical surface provides additional mechanical security of the dispenser, reduces spillage, frees both hands for cup holding and dispensing, and allows placement at a convenient height.
 The display apparatus improves the display and advertising properties of bag-in-box products.
 Although the description above contains many specifications, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but merely providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments of this invention. For example, the display apparatus of disclosed may be used for pulpable food products and non-food products such as cleaning fluids. Thus the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by the examples given.